Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
5 Things You Should Know About How God Sees You - Jack Kelley -
I'm convinced most Christians don't have a very good understanding of how God sees us. I'm not surprised about this because it's really hard for us to comprehend. God sees us so differently from the way we see ourselves and the way others see us, that there's really no comparison. It's like He and we are looking at two different people. And in a way that's true because we can only see ourselves from our past experience, but He has chosen to see us now as we will be in the future when we're with Him forever. So let's set aside how we see ourselves for a moment and take a look at five things the Bible says about how God sees us.
You Are His Child Forever
"Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God"(John 1:12-13).
How many times have you heard someone say, "We're all God's children." Did you realize that's not a true statement? Only a born again believers can legitimately call themselves children of God because one of the things that happens when we become born again is that God actually adopts us as His own.
Galatians 4:4-7 says the way to our adoption into the family of God was opened with the death of Jesus. As soon as we were born again we received the adoption to sonship, and the Spirit of God's Son came into our heart. So we are no longer slaves, but God's children; and since we are his children, God has also made us His heir. This is why Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us the Holy Spirit was given to us as a deposit that guarantees our inheritance. As heirs of God we have an inheritance that no one can take from us.
From 2 Cor. 1:21-22 we learn that when we were born again, God set His seal of ownership on us and put His Spirit in our heart guaranteeing what is to come. Since then it's God Himself who makes us stand firm in Christ. Having freed us from the one who held us in slavery, He set His own seal of ownership on us. We are no longer slaves but sons and daughters of God. Having been bought at a price, the precious blood of Jesus, we belong to God now, and no one can ever change that.
He has placed us under the care of His Son, as the owner of a flock of sheep would place them under the care of a shepherd. It's the Father's will that the Son should lose none of those He's been given, therefore everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life (John 6:37-40).
This is not something we accomplished through any personal effort of our own. It's a work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that cannot be undone. Nothing in all of creation can change what they have done in us (Romans 8:38-39) and no one can ever take us out of their hands (John 10:27-30). Once we are born again, we are God's children forever.
You Still Sin, But He No Longer Counts Your Sins Against You
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit (Psalm 32:1-2).
In Psalm 32:1-2 King David foresaw this and in Romans 7:15-24 Paul explained it. Having admitted that try as he might he just couldn't completely stop sinning, he gave us God's perspective on the matter. He said that when he sinned, it was no longer he himself who sinned, but the sin who lived within him.
Here's what he meant. In Romans 7:9 Paul said, "Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died." He was talking about reaching the age when he became accountable for his sins. Before that happened he was not accountable and had eternal life. It's not that he didn't sin before then, but his sins were not counted against him. However, as soon as he was old enough to be accountable, the penalty for his sins was applied and he no longer had eternal life.
Now let's look at two seemingly unrelated statements Jesus made about what it takes to enter God's Kingdom. In Matt. 18:3 He said, "Unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." And in John 3:3 He said, "No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again."
By putting these together with Paul's comments on accountability we can see the Lord's two statements really weren't unrelated at all. Remember, Paul said little children have eternal life because their sins are not counted against them. Jesus said in order to enter the Kingdom we have to become like little children again. But He also said in order to enter the kingdom we have to be born again. Therefore, the way to become like little children so our sins are not counted against us is to be born again.
The proof of this is when Paul was born again God no longer counted his sins against him, but attributed them to the sin that still lived within him. He had become like a little child again, not accountable for his sins, and had regained eternal life even though he couldn't prevent himself from sinning.
You Are Perfect In His Sight, As Righteous As He Is
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14).
In Romans 3:20-24 Paul explained that no one will be declared righteous by keeping the Law because the purpose of the Law was to make us conscious of our sinfulness. Therefore, God made known a righteousness from Him apart from the Law that comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, being justified freely by His grace.
From 2 Cor. 5:17 we learn that if anyone is in Christ he or she is nothing less than a new creation in Christ. "The old has gone, the new has come." This is not something that will happen someday, or that we have to bring about ourselves by changing our behavior. It's something that from God's perspective has already happened and is irreversible. It happened because we are "in Christ" or born again.
This is possible because when His Son, who was without sin, became sin for us, God was able to make us as righteous as He is (2 Cor. 5:21). From His perspective we've become perfect forever because the Son's one sacrifice for sin applies for all time, covering the entire lifetime of every believer (Hebrews 10:12-14).
When Jesus went to the cross He forgave us all our sins (Colossians 2:13-14). Those who had already died believing He would come to save them were in Paradise awaiting His atoning sacrifice. When Jesus died, their sins were forgiven retroactively. Other believers were alive at the time of His death and received the benefits of His sacrifice immediately. Still others would not be born for many years, meaning all their sins were in the distant future. Their sins would be forgiven as soon as they heard the gospel and believed it no matter how far in the future that happened.
So even though the Lord's death took place on a single afternoon in time, it had to apply for all time-past, present, and future. It also had to apply for the entire lifetime of each believer. Otherwise the phrase "He forgave us all our sins" could not be true. But because it is true, God can now see us as if we always have been and always will be perfect.
This is how He can guarantee our inheritance from the time we believed (Ephes. 1:13-14), and how He can assume responsibility for making us stand firm in Christ (2 Cor 1:21-22). Having already paid the penalty in full for all the sins of our life, He is able to regard us as being righteous, as if we never sinned in the first place. From His perspective we are innocent, like the little child Jesus said we have to become.
You Cannot Be Condemned For Any Reason
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Because of this, we can no longer be condemned for any reason. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:17).
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has passed over from death to life (John 5:24).
None of the above has required anything of you except to believe that when Jesus went to the cross, He went for you. Everything was settled for you the moment you believed that.
When You Stand Before God You Will Be As Perfect As He Is
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
At the moment of the rapture we will be instantaneously changed from mortal to immortal and what we are now by faith we will become in fact (1 Cor. 15:51-53). All physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual imperfections will be gone forever. All desire to sin will be gone, as will the disappointment, shame, and guilt that accompanied it.
Our spirit will be in perfect alignment with God's Spirit, our will in perfect harmony with His. The restrictions imposed on our abilities by the curse under which we've labored all our lives will be lifted as we emerge from the dark oppressive past into a bright and limitless future.
No matter what kind of sinner we have been here on Earth, or how often we stumbled and fell, or how disapprovingly we've been looked upon by our peers, when we stand before our Creator every hint of our earthly self will have disappeared and we will finally be the perfect example of ourselves He created us to be, fit to dwell in the presence of the Lord forever in the most luxurious environment He has ever designed.
What Should We Do About This?
As you can see, none of the above has come to us as a result of our behavior. As soon as we believed, it was accomplished in our lives as the free gift of God's grace (Ephes. 2:8-9) and can never be reversed. We don't know why God chose to make this act of His Grace such a polar opposite to His requirements of those who labored under the Law before us. And from reading prophecies that describe life on earth in the Millennium, we can see that once the Church is gone no other group of believers will ever enjoy such a lavish display of His love after us. The only explanation He gave was that through us He wanted to demonstrate the incomparable riches of His Grace in ages yet to come (Ephes 2:7).
But even though He placed no conditions on us other than to believe in the one He sent (John 6:28-29) I believe Paul was very clear in describing the appropriate response to such an overwhelming display of His kindness. We'll cover this next time as we discuss "Responding To Grace." See you then.
Trump and the Jews - Caroline B. Glick -
On Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter of support to the American Jewish community in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Saturday.
On the surface, his move made sense - the largest Diaspora community is concerned about the growing profile of viciously antisemitic forces on the Right. But at a deeper level, Rivlin's move was detrimental.
Rivlin's letter channeled a communal posture that ignores the actual state of the Jewish community. In so doing, it made it more difficult for Jewish Americans to recognize and surmount the dangers they face.
The American Jewish community is rightly concerned about neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups that are gaining more and more attention these days. The fact that antisemitism was the dominant theme of a rally ostensibly organized to oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park reveals the potency and centrality of Jew-hatred as an organizing tool for white supremacists in America.
President Donald Trump's remarks on Tuesday, where he claimed that only some of the people participating in the protest were white supremacists and the rest were just there to protect a monument, were hurtful. On Thursday, The New York Times published interviews with rally participants that bore out Trump's claims. They said they were only at the rally to protect the statue and do not harbor white supremacist views.
Maybe they were telling the truth. But it is hard to believe people who oppose white supremacism and Jew-hatred would willingly march under swastika flags to the roar of Nazi chants.
Whatever the case, Trump's equivocation was distressing.
But then, it wasn't unprecedented for a president to obfuscate the potency of antisemitism in political violence.
In February 2015, a terrorist aligned with Islamic State entered the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris on a Friday afternoon and held the Jewish shoppers hostage while killing four of them.
When asked about the event, then-president Barack Obama denied the massacre was an antisemitic attack. He referred to the victims as "a bunch of guys in a deli." The perpetrators were merely "a bunch of violent, vicious zealots."
When asked to clarify if Obama really meant to deny the attack was an antisemitic assault, both the White House and State Department spokespeople insisted, repeatedly, that the attack was not antisemitic.
The administration only deigned to acknowledge the truth in clarifications on Twitter, which it belatedly released, and which included the outright lie that the administration had said the attack was antisemitic all along.
The Obama administration's mind-melting refusal to acknowledge the attack was anti-Jewish bespoke its larger policy of denying that Jews are specifically targeted for annihilation by Islamic terrorists. The implications of the policy of denial for the safety of Jews throughout the world, including in the US, were self-evident.
And yet, the American Jewish community preferred to ignore the whole thing.
Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama's favored Jewish journalist, tweeted, "FWIW [for what it's worth], the Obama Administration has been pretty clear in its condemnations of European antisemitism over time."
Today, the same Goldberg who underplayed and denied what can at best be called Obama's diffident response to anti-Jewish violence, has been leading the charge against Trump.
Among other things, Goldberg likened the counterprotesters at Charlottesville to the American soldiers who stormed the beaches at Normandy.
In Goldberg's conflation of neo-Nazis with real Nazis and the far-left counterprotesters in Charlottesville to US forces, we see the real issue at the heart of the maelstrom now dominating US public life.
The real taboo Trump broke in his remarks following last weekend's deadly riot was not his equivocation about the relative badness of the neo-Nazis. His real offense was his insistence that the counterprotesters - the ones Goldberg and his colleagues liken to World War II partisans and Allied forces - were also violent.
And yet they were. And Goldberg and his colleagues know they were.
In an ironic twist of history's knife, the day of the riots, the September issue of The Atlantic monthly, where Goldberg serves as editor, hit the newsstands. The cover story, written by Peter Beinart, one of the stars of the American Jewish Left, was inconveniently titled, "The rise of the violent Left."
Beinart's article chronicled the violence and lawlessness of antifa, the radical group that organized the counterprotest in Charlottesville. Antifa is a group of radical goons who stand behind the violence that has plagued US college campuses for the past several years. All the violent protests - from Vermont to California - where conservative speakers were blocked from addressing students by rioting students who burned buildings and assaulted their fellow students who wished to attend the lectures - were antifa productions.
And antifa's operations go well beyond the walls of campuses. As Beinart notes, it was antifa rioters who physically assaulted Trump supporters as they walked to their cars at the end of a Trump rally in San Jose, California, last summer.
The purpose of antifa's violence is not merely to deny freedom of speech to those whose positions it opposes. It is also to prevent normal relations between Democrats and Republicans and between progressives and conservatives.
Hence, as Beinart noted, this past April, antifa threatened to use physical violence against participants in Portland, Oregon's annual Rose Festival parade where the local Republican Party was, as usual, scheduled to march along with their Democratic counterparts. The event, which has taken place annually since 1907, was canceled.
Antifa is problematic for American Jews specifically because it operates in a coalition of far-left groups that all hate Israel and believe that just as Republicans and conservatives should be banned from participating in public life, so American Jews who support Israel should be silenced. All of its coalition partners support the destruction of Israel and castigate the Jewish state as criminal. All bar Jews who support Israel - or even are proud of their Jewish identity - from participating in their events.
Hence, Linda Sarsour, the BDS leader who was elevated to the top of the US feminist movement when she served as co-chairwoman of the Women's March against Trump, insists that Zionists cannot be feminists.
Hence Black Lives Matter, the anti-police group that is a core member of the antifa coalition, libeled, in its mission statement, Israel as an "apartheid" state which is carrying out a "genocide" against the Palestinians.
Hence, Democratic Socialists of America, another core group in the antifa coalition, just passed a resolution at its annual convention to officially join the BDS movement. The vote was reportedly greeted with jubilant chants of "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free."
The fact is that the rhetoric of white supremacists on Israel and Jews is largely indistinguishable from the language of the far Left. Both insist that "Zionists" control the US government, media and banking system and use their control to advance the fortunes of the illegitimate "Jewish ethno-state."
David Duke, one of the leaders of the white supremacists in the US, wrote a fan letter to Roger Waters, the far-left, openly antisemitic musician who leads the BDS movement.
So from the American Jewish community's perspective, there ought to be no distinction between its abhorrence and concern over the white supremacists and its concerns and abhorrence of the radical Left. Indeed, the community should be more concerned over the latter because its assaults are more direct and more frequent.
And even more ominously, whereas no Republican leaders - including Trump - wish to be associated with white supremacists, mainstream Democratic leaders are increasingly supportive of the BDS movement and other anti-Israel groups. So it is that formerly pro-Israel New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and formerly pro-Israel New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker are embracing the BDS movement.
And yet, rather than sound the alarms or fight the growing power and influence of the anti-Jewish far Left in their political home, the American Jewish leadership is ignoring the danger and devoting itself to criminalizing Trump, his advisers and supporters.
Whereas the Anti-Defamation League had nearly nothing to say about either Sarsour or Cong. Keith Ellison, with his anti-Jewish record of statements from his service in the antisemitic Nation of Islam, ADL leader Jonathan Greenblatt insisted Monday that Trump must investigate his closest advisers for alleged ties to white supremacists.
The alleged "ties" of the likes of Trump aides Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka to white supremacists are the invention of The Forward newspaper, which has relentlessly libeled both men - and particularly Gorka - without ever producing a shred of evidence to back up its allegations.
Rather than acknowledge its errors, this month the Forward took its campaign a step farther when it published an extraordinary op-ed titled "19 people Jews should worry about more than Sarsour."
Prominently placed between Gorka and Bannon and the neo-Nazis on the one side and the leaders of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, and Trump himself on the other, was Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America.
In other words, for the Forward, pro-Israel American Jews of the type assaulted by antifa and its comrades, and pro-Israel presidential advisers are more dangerous to the community than Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and of course, Sarsour herself who embraces Jew-killing terrorists and says that Jewish Israel-supporters must be shunned.
Trump's electoral victory was a revolutionary event in US history. Tens of millions of American voters supported Trump because he promised to "drain the swamp," in Washington and serve the needs of the people who the swamp cast asunder.
A big part of that swamp is the Left that insists it is above criticism while its opponents on the Right are deplorable racists unworthy of consideration. When Trump called out the far Left along with the neo-Nazis for their violence at Charlottesville, he was keeping his pledge to his voters and upending one of the most cherished myths of the hated "establishment."
Given that the white supremacists and radical leftists converge in their hatred of Jews, it is important for the American Jewish community and for America as a whole to embrace Trump's actions. He is not engaging in moral equivalence between good and evil. He is exercising moral clarity. Without such clarity, the forces of Jew-hatred in the US will never be defeated. Without such clarity, the political position, security and freedom of American Jews will grow increasingly imperiled.
Israel's job, to the extent it has one in the current fight plaguing the US, is to point out this truth, not join the bandwagon in obfuscating it. Trump is far from a perfect mouthpiece for this essential battle against Jew-haters on the Right and the Left.
But at least he is using his mouth to sound the battle cry. For this he should be applauded by Israelis and American Jews alike.
Is America's Collapse Inevitable? - Dr. David Reagan -
"Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman... so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me." (Ezekiel 33:7)
Most pulpits in America are silent about our nation's moral problems - and that has certainly been true. But there have been exceptions over the years, like pastors Erwin Lutzer and David Jeremiah. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, is another one of the exceptions. He has never feared to tread - and tread boldly - where few pastors have been willing to go.
I often think of him as the "Harry Truman of American pastors" because, like President Truman, he spits words like bullets and seems to have no concern about who might be offended. To him, the truths of God's Word are more important than hurt feelings.
One very interesting thing about Jeffress is that he understands how the media works, and he makes the most of it. Thus, whereas his more than 20 books contain very thoughtful, in-depth discussions of the moral issues afflicting our nation, when it comes to being interviewed on radio or television, Jeffress always speaks in short, savvy and colorful phrases. He does this because he knows that the broadcast media thrive on "sound bites."
Consider, for example, the sound bites he has delivered on the following topics:
* Homosexuality - "Gay is not okay. What homosexuals do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description. And it is their filthy behavior that explains why they are so much more prone to disease."
* Same-Sex Marriage - "Such marriages are counterfeit."
* Islam - "Islam is a false religion that will lead you to hell. It is based on a false book that is based on a fraud. It was founded by a false prophet who was leading people away instead of to the one true God."
* Judaism - "The three greatest Jews in the New Testament - Peter, Paul and Jesus - all said Judaism won't do it, it's faith in Jesus Christ."
* Roman Catholicism - "It is the Satanic result of Babylonian mystery religion."
* Mormonism - "It is a heresy from the pit of Hell."
* Obama - "President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist."
* Spineless Pastors - "Wimpy pastors produce wimpy Christians - and that is why we are losing this culture war."
Jeffress began speaking prophetically about our nation in 2012 with the publication of his book, Twilight's Last Gleaming. In 2013 he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the annual Bible conference sponsored by Lamb & Lion Ministries. At that conference, he presented a condensed version of the thesis of his book. (Watch the conference presentation!)
The Implosion of America
Dr. Jeffress started his message with:
I believe America's collapse is inevitable.
I came to understand why this is true just a couple years ago when we were in the midst of preparing for the building of our new church campus. We had to first of all get rid of five of our buildings, consisting of about 600,000 square feet in the middle of downtown Dallas. And so the question arose: How do you get rid of that many buildings in the middle of downtown Dallas without bringing down the surrounding skyscrapers?
The demolition people met with me, and they said the best way to achieve this is through an implosion. And they explained to me what they were going to do. They said, "We're going to take 200 pounds of dynamite and attach it to key structural supports within those five buildings. We will then explode the dynamite, there will be a pause, and then the law of physics will take over. Without those foundational supports, the buildings will fall in on themselves under their own weight." I said, "Well, that sounds pretty good to me. Let's do it."
And so, on a brisk October morning in 2010, they closed downtown Dallas. The Mayor and I and our building committee chairman were on a nearby roof top, along with all of the media. CNN, Fox News, and all the local media were there to cover the implosion of our buildings. This was going out live on Fox and Friends and other media outlets around the world.
We did the countdown, 5-4-3-2-1. The Mayor and I pressed the ceremonial red button, and in the next block we heard the explosions going off just like they predicted. And those explosions were followed by nothing. Absolutely nothing! I cannot begin to tell you what all went through my mind over those next few seconds. I began to think, "Who am I going to fire first?" I could just see this scene being replayed endlessly on YouTube, "Pastor's Implosion a Dud." I mean it seemed like forever. But you see, I had forgotten what the demolition people told me. They had told me there was going to be a pause after those explosions.
And suddenly, without any warning, I heard a sound that could only be compared to standing in front of a jet engine. The roar increased in volume as we watched those once mighty buildings fall in on themselves, and within 30 seconds, they were reduced to nothing more than a plume of debris-filled dust.
I learned something that morning about implosions. They begin with a series of seemingly unrelated explosions, followed by a pause, and then a sudden collapse.
Four Explosive Decisions
Ladies and gentlemen, over the last 50 years our Supreme Court has made four explosive decisions that have so weakened the moral and spiritual structure and foundation of our country that our inevitable collapse is certain. Right now we're simply living between that time of the explosions that have weakened our basic foundation, and the coming implosion.
These four decisions have changed the direction of our country more than any congressional mandate and more than any executive order from the President of the United States. What are those four decisions?
New Red Sea-Dead Sea Pipeline Echoes Isaiah's Prophecy of Water in Desert - By Yehezkel Laing -
"I will open up streams on the bare hills And fountains amid the valleys; I will turn the desert into ponds, The arid land into springs of water." Isaiah 41:18 (The Israel Bible™)
A new agreement between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to create a pipeline of moving water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea echoes the predictions of the prophet Isaiah that God would "open up streams on the bare hills" and turn "arid lands into springs of water."
The $10 billion plan, approved last month, calls for a 220 kilometer (137 mile) pipeline to transfer water from the Red Sea, a seawater inlet lying between Africa and Asia, to the Dead Sea in Israel in order to bring large amounts of potable water to some of the world's driest regions. Rabbi Pinchas Winston, an expert on Bible prophecy, immediately saw prophetic significance in the project.
"A prophecy about water in the desert cannot be ignored, especially as we see how significant water has become at this stage in history," Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News.
A water technology superpower, Israel has long been making the desert bloom. But the new agreement takes desert irrigation to new heights. The new pipeline will help replenish the dwindling Dead Sea, generate electricity as the water runs down some 400m from sea level to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth, and produce large amounts of potable water by way of a planned desalination plant in Aqaba, Jordan.
The pipeline will pump seawater 230 meters (755 feet) uphill from the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba through the Arava desert valley in southern Israel. The water will then flow down gravitationally through multiple pipelines to the Dead Sea, which lies about 420m below sea level.
The project to create new streams of water flowing through the desert has Biblical roots. It was foreseen by Isaiah, who described these exact events.
I will open up streams on the bare hills And fountains amid the valleys; I will turn the desert into ponds, The arid land into springs of water....That men may see and know, Consider and comprehend That Hashem's hand has done this, That the Holy One of Yisrael has wrought it. Isaiah 41:18-20
The wild beasts shall honor Me, Jackals and ostriches, For I provide water in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people. (Isaiah 43:20)
Though the project is man-made, Rabbi Winston believes there is no question who is really behind it. "God has his ways of disguising things so that believers will see it and rejoice and non-believers will say it doesn't count," he explained to Breaking Israel News.
The water level in the Dead Sea has been shrinking at a rate of more than one meter per year. This is largely due to the diversion of over 90 percent of the water of the Jordan River.
Some fifty years ago, the Jordan brought some 1.5 billion cubic meters of water every year from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. But since then Israel, Jordan and Syria have built dams, canals, and pumping stations that divert most of the water for crops and drinking. This has reduced water flow to the Dead Sea to about 100 million cubic meters a year and reduced its size by about 30 percent.
However, this sequence of events, leading to the future pipeline, may all have been part of the prophetic plan. Rabbi Winston pointed out that many prophecy fulfillments only become clear looking backwards.
"Since the year 2000 we have begun to see more and more events fitting in with the End-of-Days scenario. Sometimes it is difficult to confirm whether a specific prophecy has been fulfilled or not. Often only in retrospect can we understand things," he said.
What Do You Do with A Miracle? - Nathele Graham -
In the few short years that Jesus Christ walked this earth He touched many lives. He fed thousands of people with just a few fish and a little bread, He brought people back from the dead, and forgave sin. Let's take a look at a few of these wonders.
Many blind men were healed, but one in particular caused quite an uproar. This man had been blind from birth and when Jesus saw him He healed his blindness by spitting on the ground and making clay which He put on the man's eyes. "And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." John 9:7. People who had seen him begging and knew he was blind were confused, and asked him how he could now see. He told them what Jesus had done and when he washed in the pool of Siloam he received his sight. So, they took him to the Pharisees. This had been done on a Sabbath day and the Pharisees were very upset. They showed their own blindness by accusing Jesus of violating the Law. "Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them." John 9:16. There are none so blind as those who will not see. They didn't believe the man when he said that he had been blind so they called in his parents. They confirmed he was their son and had been blind but said he was old enough to speak for himself as to how he was healed. "These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue." John 9:22. This miracle should have brought joy to the parents, but they were only concerned about their own self-interest. The Pharisees should have been convinced that God had done a miracle, but instead they insisted that Jesus was a sinner. Because the blind man wouldn't deny what Christ had done for him, he was cast out. When Jesus heard He found the man and asked him if he believed on the Son of God. "And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him." John 9:38.
Jesus was always willing to heal people wherever they were found, no matter what their infirmity. "And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him." Mark 7:31-32. Jesus answered their request and healed this man who was deaf and had difficulty speaking. "And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain." Mark 7:33-35. Joy swept through the crowd! Jesus told them not to tell anyone, but they just couldn't contain themselves. "And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak." Mark 7:37. It's easy to understand their joy. When a miracle happens we want to tell everyone about it.
Jesus healed the blind and deaf, but He also healed those who were unable to walk. His fame had grown and people came from far and wide to hear His words and receive healing. One day He was in a house teaching and a large crowd had gathered, including Pharisees and doctors of the law. Oh, they weren't there for healing or to hear Jesus' words; they were there to criticize and condemn Him. "And behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him." Luke 5:18. This man was paralyzed and unable to walk, but he had friends who were willing to carry him to Jesus for healing. When they were unable to get through the door they carried him onto the roof and lowered him on his cot down through loosened tiles to rest before Jesus. "And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, they sins are forgiven thee." Luke 5:20. Of course the scribes and Pharisees could only find fault. They accused Jesus of blasphemy because only God can forgive sin. What feeble minded fools they were! Jesus was not being blasphemous because Jesus is God. "But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house." Luke 5:22-24. That was all it took. Just a word from Jesus and the man was healed. "And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying. God." Luke 5:25. The people who received healing were always full of joy and praised God. It was the Pharisees who were displeased.
Demons are real and have caused much trauma throughout time. They can cause various physical troubles and one such trouble is dumbness. The Pharisees had a way of casting out demons which involved causing the demon to give its name, so if the physical problem was the inability to speak that demon could not be cast out. Or at least so the Pharisees thought. "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel." Matthew 9:32-33. Jesus has authority over all things, including demons which cause dumbness. The Pharisees accused Him of evil. "But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of devils." Matthew 9:34. That, of course, was not true. Jesus did His miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit. Although the religious leaders were miffed over the healings, those who received them were filled with joy.
Of all the miraculous things Jesus did, raising people from the dead seems to be the most amazing. There was a widow whose son and died leaving her alone, and Jesus brought her son back to life. Jairus' daughter is another one whom Jesus raised from the dead. The one that rankled the Pharisees the most was Lazarus. Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus were friends of Jesus. One day word reached Jesus that Lazarus was ill. Instead of rushing to Lazarus, Jesus took His time. "Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already." John 11:17. Jewish thinking of the time was that a soul would stay near a body for three days hoping to re-enter the body, but after that there was no hope of coming back from the dead. When Jesus arrived He was met by Martha who said that if He had been there her brother wouldn't have died. "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" John 11:25-26. Do you believe that? I do and so did Martha. "She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." John 11:27. So Jesus went to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid four days earlier. "Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days." John 11:39. Martha just spoke what she knew to be true. After four days a body goes through certain changes that would make it uncomfortable to open the tomb. Jesus insisted and they obeyed. First, Jesus prayed giving thanks to God the Father for hearing His prayer. "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." John 11:43-44. Though his hands and feet were bound, Lazarus came out of the grave. Alive.
Jesus never allowed the Pharisees to stop Him from fulfilling His ministry on earth. They criticized everything He did, but they couldn't stop Him until all Scripture was fulfilled. Even then nobody took Jesus' life from Him but He willingly gave His life when the time was right. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." John 10:17-18. When the time had come for Jesus to lay down His life He was illegally arrested, illegally tried, and condemned to be crucified. Jesus had healed multitudes of people, but I wonder where they were on that day. Jesus healed a blind man---did that man see Him hanging on the cross? Jesus healed a deaf man---did that man hear Him cry out "My God why have You forsaken Me?" Jesus healed a lame man---did that man walk with Him as He carried His cross? Jesus healed a dumb man---did that man cry out "Hosanna" or did he cry "Crucify Him"? Jesus raised people from the dead so they knew first hand Jesus' power over life and death---were they there to hear one criminal mock Jesus as He hung on the cross but hear the other one receive the promise from Jesus of eternity with Him?
There were many people who had received healing or who had a loved one who had been healed. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 21:25. John was an eyewitness to all that Jesus did so we know this to be true. We also know that the miracles didn't stop upon Jesus' crucifixion. We still have power through the Holy Spirit to be God's instrument of healing. Jesus has given every Christian the miracle of new life through Him. We have been born again and we need to share the Gospel with the people around us who remain dead in their sins. Friends and family may mock us as we share the Gospel with them, but how each of us use our eyes, ears, voice, and feet reflects how much we love Him. Through His death, burial, and resurrection He has given us eternal life.
What do you do with the miracle Jesus gave to you? Live so people around you will see Him living in you.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Hope in a hopeless world - Greg Laurie -
Pastor Greg Laurie says, 'Dying without Jesus is the sum of all fears'
In 2002, Paramount Pictures released the film "The Sum of All Fears," a story about a terrorist group that gets hold of a nuke and detonates it, trying to bring the United States and Russia into war. The story, which was based on a novel by Tom Clancy, seems not only possible but plausible.
Without question we are living in frightening times right now. There are things worth being afraid of. Jesus gave some words of advice for living in fearful times, words he spoke to his disciples after telling them something that turned their world upside down.
What he said to bring comfort and assurance to them in their frightening times also can bring comfort and assurance to us as well: "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am" (John 14:1-3 NLT).
Life is full of troubles isn't it? Really, from the day we are born, troubles begin. There are health troubles. There are family troubles. There are parent troubles. There are children troubles. There are relationship troubles and financial troubles.
Disappointments are a form of trouble as well, and there are many disappointments in life, aren't there? We're disappointed with ourselves because we are not always what we want to be. We want to be strong, but we are weak. We want to be successful, but we often fail. We want to be liked, but people often are indifferent toward us.
Circumstances are a source of trouble, too. There are job losses. There are unexpected illnesses. And of course there is uncertainty about the future.
Jesus began by telling his disciples, "Don't let your hearts be troubled." A more literal translation of this statement would be, "Don't let your hearts be agitated or disturbed or thrown into confusion."
Jesus continued, "Trust in God, and trust also in me." In the original Greek, that is a command. He was saying, "I order you, I command you as my child, to believe in Me." Jesus was essentially telling his disciples, "I haven't brought you this far to dump you. I'm not going to abandon you in your hour of need."
To be candid, I'm addressing these statements to the person who has put his or her faith in Jesus Christ. If you don't have Jesus living in your heart, then you ought to be shaking in your shoes right now. Politicians won't save you. Washington won't save you. Technology won't save you. You need God.
On the other hand, if you're a Christian, then you can have hope in a hopeless world. Why? Because as a believer, you know Jesus. And while there is cause to be troubled, there is greater cause not to be.
Maybe something unexpected has happened in your life. Maybe tragedy has befallen you. Maybe something very difficult is happening, and you don't know what to do. Remember this: The word oops is not in God's vocabulary. He is in control of your life. And when you don't understand what is going on, fall back on what you do understand. He loves you and has a good plan for you. He says His plans for you are good. His thoughts toward you are constant.
The Bible says, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" (Romans 8:28 NLT). That is the hope of the believer.
The disciples were afraid because Jesus had dropped a bombshell. He told them he would be leaving them. Not only that, he said that one of them would betray him. Another among them, Simon Peter, would deny him. It didn't make sense.
What they didn't realize was that Jesus was going away for a purpose. He was going to die on a cross, and they could not see how that possibly could be a good thing. But with 20/20 hindsight, we can look back and understand that the only way the sin of the world could be dealt with was through the death of Jesus on the cross.
Why? Because we have sinned. We all have fallen short of God's glory. But God loved us so much that he came to walk among us as a man. Jesus was not just a good man; he was the God-man. He was God in human form, experiencing the challenges and difficulties that we face in life. He walked among us and willingly went to the cross, dying for your sins and mine.
He had to do it, but the disciples could not understand why. Jesus was saying, "Guys, I'm asking you to trust me on this, OK? I know what I'm doing. Believe in me."
Take the most frightening aspect of what is happening in our world today. Imagine the worst-case scenario. In the end, if you are a Christian, you will go to Heaven. Therefore, you don't have to be paralyzed by fear.
The worst-case scenario is not dying. (That will happen no matter what.) The worst-case scenario is dying without Jesus. If you die without Jesus Christ living inside of you, then to be quite blunt and thoroughly biblical, you will not go to heaven; you'll go to hell. That is an unpopular subject, but if I didn't tell you that, I wouldn't be doing my job. I have to give you the whole story.
Dying without Jesus is the sum of all fears. Jesus said, "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28 NLT). That doesn't mean you have a death wish. It simply means that you don't have to be afraid.
Opened Not His Mouth - By Grant Phillips -
Isaiah in the Old Testament prophesied of Jesus that:
"He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)
Then Matthew in the New Testament tells us:
"Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "You have said so," Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge-to the great amazement of the governor." (Matthew 27:11-14)
One reason that Jesus kept silent is because, for our sakes, He knew He must go to the cross to be our Redeemer. Without His death, burial and resurrection all mankind would be judged to an everlasting hell, but those who come to Him in belief would inherit eternal life. There is also another reason.
Jesus also kept silent because He was guilty and could not defend Himself. That sounds outlandish, even blasphemous, until we stop and think about it. He stood there silently for all of us taking our guilt upon Himself.
From the moment Jesus was arrested He was taking the sins of the world upon Himself. He stood before His accusers on our behalf. He took the beatings for us. He walked to the cross for us. He hung and died on the cross for us. It should have been us, but even if it were, we would still all spend eternity in hell. Only Jesus could pay the price to redeem from the slave market of sin, all those who come to Him.
Think of it this way. Let's say an entire classroom of children, except one, trashed the classroom before their teacher arrived. When the teacher came into the classroom she was horrified and angry. She wanted to know who was guilty. No one would admit to it. Much to the students' surprise, the one student who was innocent stepped forward and took the blame. The innocent student said nothing, but with bowed head accepted the punishment the others deserved. Now that may not be the best example in the world, but that is exactly what Jesus did for us. That is why Jesus was silent. He was guilty, because He accepted our guilt upon Himself.
From Genesis throughout the remainder of the Scriptures, God shows over and over that man cannot be in His presence unless He is righteous, and man cannot be righteous unless one who is totally innocent pays the sin debt with his own blood.
God clothed Adam and Eve with the skin of an innocent animal representing His prophecy found earlier in Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." From that time forward, probably millions of innocent animals died because of the sin within mankind. They died to show that a Redeemer would come at the appointed time to redeem man to God.
The Redeemer, the Son of God, Jesus the Christ came and died for all nearly two thousand years ago. He died totally innocent on behalf of the guilty. There was no sin within Him. Even Pilate could find no fault in Him (John 18:38; 19:4, 6), but yet He took our punishment upon Himself so we would have a way, the only way, to be saved.
It is alarming how lightly most everyone in our society regards sin. Some don't consider what God calls sin as sin. Others say something like, "Jesus paid my sins so I can do whatever I think is best for me." Most pastors don't touch the subject of sin anymore.
Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:2-3) that in latter times some will depart from the faith, having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Isn't that exactly where we are now? Having no conscience of our sins we commit against God is a very frightening thought. Yet many today have no conscience which is apparent by what they say, do, think and their lifestyle.
We treat sin as if, "Oh, it's no big deal. Everyone does it!" Can that really be what we think of Jesus? Is there no appreciation at all for all He has done for us? Jesus suffered more and gave more for us than we could ever comprehend, and this is our attitude toward Him? Friends, that's cold and heartless. Are our souls so dead we have no feelings?
None of us are without sin. That's understood. We're all active sinners, but are we a saved sinner, saved by the blood of Jesus? As professing Christians do we try not to sin, as described in God's Holy Word, the Bible, or do we even recognize our fallen nature? Is there any guilt that pulls at us, making us aware we need to repent? Do we even care?
We're into the canning season here at our house. My better half juiced tomatoes yesterday, and will be canning tomatoes tomorrow. I've noticed all throughout this process, and over the last several years, that she is constantly sniffing the tomatoes. Those who can tomatoes will know why she does that. A tomato may look good on the outside, but that doesn't mean it is good on the inside. Therefore, any bad spot will be hastily removed.
People are like tomatoes. They may be beautiful on the outside, everything appearing to be perfect, but God sees what is on the inside.
"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
Unlike tomatoes, we are all tainted with bad spots. It's called sin. Our sin nature keeps producing an endless supply of sins that keep us sick and will cause eternal death, unless something is done to save us. Something was done. It was done on a cross at Calvary that held the nailed hands and feet of the Son of God while His blood soaked the ground beneath.
Even on the cross, Jesus did not open His mouth in defense of His innocence but said, "... Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
Now He is saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: Of truth and lies - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The New York Times is whining about President Donald Trump's remarks against the media during his rally in Phoenix, AZ this week. Trump said, "It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions, and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions. And yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and heritage...for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people and they're bad people. And I really think they don't like our country. I really believe that. And I don't believe they're going to change, and that's why I do this." Trump said this after giving at least 8 examples of how the media lied about him and called him racist.
Trump illustrated his point by reading his first statement on Charlottesville condemning "in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence." And the media criticized him for not responding fast enough or specific enough, drawing the conclusion that he must be a racist. He continued that the media doesn't want to talk about the anarchists, Antifa (which Arizona police say was responsible for the violence after Trump's speech). Trump continues: "So now, I say we have to heal our wounds and the wounds of our country. I love the people of our country, the people, all of the people. It says I love all of the people of our country... And then they say, is he a racist? Is he a racist?"
Then Trump said he issued another statement that was more specific, saying "to anyone who acted criminally in this weekends racists violence. OK, then I go, we must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans, right? Then I said, racism is evil. Do they report that I said that racism is evil? Now they only choose, you know, like a half a sentence here or there and then they just go on this long rampage, or they put on these real lightweights all around a table that nobody ever heard of, and they all say what a bad guy I am...The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself, and the fake news."
The media's response to Trump's public documentation of its irresponsible reporting is to claim Trump is deeply disturbing and mentally unfit for office, that he is inciting violence against the media, that he is tearing up the First Amendment, that he is lying about the media, a total eclipse of the facts, and more-of course this comes from mainly CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times and the Washington Post. They are being called out for fomenting national division, and they don't like it. So they accuse Trump of doing what they have done all along. This is similar to what Isaiah 59:14 describes, "And judgment is turned away backward, and justice stands afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter." If ever truth and the First Amendment are threatened, the news media is at the center of it holding firmly to their propaganda.
Daily Devotion: Gaining Control of Our Rebel Souls - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
"For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." -James 1:3
Our basic objective in life is to avoid pain at all costs. We want to be comfortable. We want to get in better shape, but we don't want to sweat. We don't want to feel any breakdown of the muscle or go through any kind of exertion. But no pain, no gain, as the expression goes. And what is true of the gym or the health club is also true of life. Pain reminds us of a deeper need.
For instance, we have the pangs of hunger, which reminds us of a deeper need: the need to eat. In the same way, when we go through pain it reminds us of a deeper need: the need for God in our lives. And God will teach us lessons in those valleys that we never would have learned on the mountaintops. He will teach us things we need to know and things we need to share with others, reminders that we are all passing through this life rather rapidly and that another life is coming.
C.S. Lewis wrote that pain "removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul." God wants to plant His flag in our rebel souls. He wants to get control of our lives.
Now don't get me wrong. As I've said before, the Christian life is the greatest life. You will have many moments and times of joy and happiness. But just know that hard times eventually will come. And adversity teaches us eternal truths we would not learn otherwise.
Jesus loves us, and He wants to be glorified through our lives. But He will not always remove suffering because it can make us stronger and give us a platform where we can glorify God and point others to Him.
FROM THE HEART
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